Lines are long, the service is grouchy and the product is average, but a visit to Coppelia, the iconic Cuban ice-cream parlour, is a must for any visitor to Havana. Skip the foreigners' section, buy a handful of biscuits from the entrepreneurs standing outside and line up with the locals to be seated and served en masse as a group. You'll pay just a peso a scoop (5¢), but the experience is priceless.
Parque Coppelia, Havana
Tucked away in the 10th district of Vienna is Tichy, an Austrian ice-cream institution. With a busy corner counter for takeaway, a retro 1950s diner, and a palatial ice-cream saloon out the back, Tichy is famous for its ice-cream dumplings: tennis ball-sized concoctions filled with a gooey centre and covered in crumbs and sprinkles, including their apricot-flavoured Eismarillenknödel. However, it's worth checking the menu for other curious ice-cream innovations, including their ice-cream spaghetti.
Reumannplatz 13, Vienna
With lines out the door each day and 11 stores (including a special outlet in Las Vegas), Messina has come a long way since it opened in Sydney's Darlinghurst in 2002. The quality ingredients and taste test-friendly approach have been part of Messina's success, but it's their innovative flavours, as well as their playfulness – think flavours such as Elvis the Fat Years (peanut butter gelato, fried brioche and banana jam) – that has made them a favourite among ice-cream connoisseurs.
CAFE PROCOPE, FRANCE
The origins of ice-cream, sorbets and frozen desserts is hazy, but one Parisian cafe pops up frequently in the history of the creation: Cafe Procope. The cafe was rumoured to serve some of the first sorbet in Paris in the late 1600s, and over time was a favourite amongst historic figures including Voltaire, Ben Franklin and Napoleon. Today Cafe Procope's menu is focused on seafood, however they still offer a selection of ice-creams made in-house.
HELADERIA COROMOTO, VENEZUELA
Why do things by halves? Heladeria Coromoto in Merida, Venezuela, currently holds the Guinness world record for the most flavours served by an ice-cream parlour: a record-breaking 863 flavours. Family owned and operated, controversy raged in December 2014 when the shop closed temporarily due to Venezuela's milk shortages, but the heladeria has since reopened to serve everything from trout to tomato and jamon y Queso (ham & cheese) flavours, alongside traditional fare like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
3 Independencia, Merida
GELATO UNIVERSITY, BOLOGNA
Why just eat it, when you learn all about it? Established in 2003, Bologna is home to Italy's own gelato university. What sounds like a novelty is actually a serious business, with people flying from around the world to study the art of gelato making, and classes proving so popular they are offered in four languages. The basic course takes five days and costs more than $1500, with more extensive courses running up to five weeks.
I TIM PAD, THAILAND
Thailand has its own version of the Mr Whippy van – I tim pad. Made from scratch and served up on the street, I tim pad involves pouring a milk mixture onto a cold plate chilled to -30 degrees, which is then mixed with your choice of ingredients, including fruit or cookies. The mix is chopped and sliced with two spatulas, before being smoothed out, curled into a roulade and served in a paper cup.
PLEASED TO MEET YOU, PERTH
Located in Northbridge, Pleased to Meet You isn't the sort of place you'd expect to find an ice-cream sensation. Self-described as an "indoor food truck", the trendy Perth bar serves up ice-cream nachos, complete with sweet and salty corn chips, mango shavings substituted for cheese and strawberry salsa in a retro soft-serve cup. While the dessert could be passed off as gimmicky, surprisingly the combination works.
One of the best ways to stay cool on the searing Indian subcontinent is try kulfi, a frozen dessert. Made up of a blend of spices, nuts and fruits, including cardamom, pistachio, rose and saffron, the ice-cream like dessert is served from metal popsicle moulds or occasionally frozen inside pieces of whole fruit, such as mangoes. Unlike ice-cream, the mix isn't churned and takes longer to melt, making it a popular street food, served from giant clay pots.
On the streets of Istanbul, ice-cream takes on a theatrical quality. Made from the root of an orchard called salep and bound with a natural resin, dondurma takes on a melt-resistant, elastic texture. The mix is churned using a large paddle, with sellers putting on an elaborate show of pulling, twisting and manipulating the gooey ice-cream, including occasionally dropping a dollop into the palm of a passerby's hand or stealing back a scoop from a customer's cone.